Relatively simple changes can sometimes lead to major benefits. When it comes to material handling for steel and other metals, change isn’t always easy. There are certain workflows and practices that have proven themselves to be reliable, if not the most efficient. However, a shift in perspective can lead to more efficient and compact operations in terms of handling long loads (over 10’ in length), while also offering improvements to employee safety.

Aluminum extruders, steel fabricators and service centers for metals can all stand to realize improvements without especially complex adjustments to current workflows or especially high costs in the move to new equipment. Similarly, switching to lateral load storage can be fast, effective and supported throughout by the right partner.

Let’s look at how common storage methods can improve, why Combilift is a dependable, proven partner for realizing this change and what to expect as your business starts working with Combilift. That includes not only the vehicles needed for the job, but free warehouse optimization and layout support that ensures your company realizes the widest range of benefits possible from making such a change.


How common storage methods can improve

The traditional lengthwise orientation of storage and warehouse transport methods for long loads limits the true potential of warehouse space utilization as well as staff safety. Consider how the Combilift approach compares to conventional long load handling strategies in these three key operational categories:


Using a forklift to transport a load by traditional means often requires that the operator elevate the load into the air to avoid contacting co-workers, equipment, inventory and elements of the warehouse itself. This approach runs contrary to general OSHA guidance that emphasizes keeping loads as low to the ground as possible. With Combilift multidirectional and side-loader vehicles, loads are as low as 16” to the ground and supported by a load-bearing platform.

Similarly, operators transporting long loads via counterbalance forklifts have to constantly assess their surroundings, both directly ahead of them and at each side for at least as long as the load extends. By orienting the load laterally and traveling sideways, operators have a narrower field to actively observe while operating their carrier or forklift. This can also lead to significant safety improvements.


Long loads stored lengthwise in a warehouse or similar facility require a substantial amount of room for forklift operators to safely drop off, pick up and otherwise move them. There simply isn’t a way to get around the need for large empty spaces to support safe handling procedures. With the Combilift strategy, forklifts and vehicles don’t require large open spaces to change direction and start moving the load. Instead, a simple flip of a switch is all it takes to change direction of travel in 90-degree increments. That means no more concerns over sweeping turning radiuses or dedicating substantial parts of your warehouse floor to only providing the necessary open space for traditional forklifts.


Less wasted space means getting more value out of your warehouses and storage facilities. When loads are stored along their longest dimension and transported by forklift in the same way, they require a significant amount of space to prevent collisions and allow for safe handling. Using Combilift’s solutions means your company can double storage/inventory space in an existing warehouse without any expansion or drastic changes to the building’s infrastructure. Alternatively, your business could use the square footage made available by reorganization to address any number of other needs, from adding additional equipment or machinery to additional office space.

Streamlining your fleet of forklifts and similar vehicles is a direct path to increased efficiency. Material handling takes less time with a compact, easily accessible warehouse layout. Combilift vehicles are designed specifically to offer safe yet speedy operations meaning fewer acquisition and maintenance costs in the long term, as well as unlocking an especially valuable resource in terms of human capital. Staff who were previously dedicated to forklift operation can instead serve in several other roles where their experience, skills and critical thinking abilities can all add value and lead to further improvements in terms of efficiency.

Finally, increased efficiency can also come in the form of reduced damage to inventory. With loads carried low to the ground and a variety of unique safety features, such as wide four-fork spreader bars, that better balance loads and reduce the potential for a fall or other scenario that negatively impacts your inventory.

Why Combilift is such an effective solution

 A change in how your organization handles its long loads opens doors to many types of advantages that are relatively simple to achieve. What makes Combilift a standout partner in helping you realize your goals related to increased efficiency, improved storage space utilization and an enhanced approach to safety?

One of the most important differences comes in our approach to customer service and support. We pride ourselves on going far beyond simply providing the forklifts and other vehicles necessary to transport long loads. At Combilift, we take an individualized approach to each business and industry. Instead of starting a discussion with suggestions, we focus on questions that help our team understand the needs of your business and the specific pain points it faces in operations. Our knowledgeable and experienced representatives regularly conduct site visits to build a more complete picture of your business and the relevant challenges it faces before suggesting or offering specific solutions.

Our commitment to customer service extends to our free warehouse planning program. With this offering, our team takes on the heavy lifting related to building your business a more efficient warehouse. This site optimization service leverages our team’s depth of experience in applying the benefits of using Combilift vehicles to a wide variety of warehouses and storage facilities. If your current warehouse is starting to feel too cramped, don’t jump to leasing additional space or building a new structure. Working with Combilift doesn’t just give you the equipment needed for more efficient and safer handling of long loads, it also provides you a clear path for effective and significant warehouse reorganization.

Of course, Combilift equipment is a foundational reason why we have helped so many businesses improve their safety, efficiency and storage strategies. Our wide range of trucks and vehicles — including articulated, multidirectional and side-loader forklifts along with pedestrian stackers, straddle carriers and more options — means your business can count on finding a solution that aligns with your needs and goals. Designed with safe and efficient operation in mind, Combilift vehicles can transform your operations.

At Combilift, we’ve carefully built a multilayered customer support and service strategy. The combination of our dealer network, regional managers working in the field, factory technicians and North American parts warehouse means your company can call in relevant, skilled assistance whenever it’s needed without having to deal with time zone differences and language barriers. One example is the on-site familiarization provided to employees when customers purchase new Combilift equipment. This simple familiarization builds on the knowledge and abilities already held by trained forklift operators to help them excel at operating Combilift forklifts, stackers and other vehicles. Taking less than half a day to complete for experienced operators, this service helps your business quickly begin to realize the benefits of Combilift.


What your company can expect when partnering with Combilift

 When you choose to partner with the experts at Combilift, you can count on the wide range of benefits we’ve detailed thus far. Potentially major changes in terms of a streamlined forklift fleet, a more efficient warehouse and better utilization of staff time and labor are all within your grasp. Similarly, your company can easily realize optimized inventory control, efficient transport of long loads and, most important of all, a safer environment for your employees, equipment and other assets. With more than 20 years of experience producing high-quality, dependable vehicles and supporting more efficient and effective warehouses, storage spaces, production plants and similar facilities, we know we can use our combined knowledge and experience to help transform your facility too.

At Combilift, we believe it’s especially important to provide real, enduring value in exchange for your business. That’s why we want you to take advantage of our free material flow and warehouse planning service. Not only can it offer up more space within the same facility, it means more efficient operations for loading, unloading and storing long loads. Request your free warehouse optimization service today — Let us show you what Combilift can do for your business.

For more information on Combilift’s products and services, email  or call (800) 447-3125